Friday, March 19, 2010

I May Get in Trouble for This

[Jesus] also preached ''teach them how to fish, don't give them a fish. You don't work you don't eat."
-Mary Matalin on The Colbert Report

I think it's just good form for secular me to avoid in general telling Christians what they should believe about the Bible. For example, I think the hypocrisy of using Leviticus to preach against homosexuality if they eat shellfish is self-evident. But if I don't accept the Bible as an authority, then I don't think I get to use it to prove my own points.

That said, I have a little biblical game. I did, after all, attend Catholic schools from the age of 8 to the age of 27. OK, so we weren't doing a whole lot of mandatory religion classes in college and graduate school. But I know that not only did Jesus never say anything close to that (her sources are Lao Tze and the evil sheriff in Cool Hand Luke), but it's pretty much antithetical to everything that Jesus DID say. He said, instead: "whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me."

I don't believe in God, and I don't accept Christ as an authority. But I do believe that we have a responsibility to the least among us. And I believe that society structured with that in mind has the happy result of being not only ethical and easy to live in, but also strong and self-sustaining.

I think this is all strategy for the most corrupted wing of the conservative movement: give cover to a primary goal of restructuring wealth in a way that favors the super richity rich. And they do this by saying over and over again that if you are rich, it's because God favors you and if you're poor, it's because you're lazy and have pissed off Cool Hand Luke Prison Guard Jesus. And this seems to be working on a whole host of people who won't benefit at all from this wealth restructuring. Mary Matalin is no dope. She knows Jesus didn't say "poor people can starve." She does knows that if she can get people all pissed off about welfare queens and Acorn, then they won't notice when the banksters siphon all their money away to already fabulously wealthy people.

I remember well when Islamic fundamentalists first started calling for Jihad against that Dutch cartoonist. A boatload of self-professed Christians demanded to know why moderate Muslim leadership hadn't spoken up to decry this perversion of their faith. They had a point and then they ruined it by almost immediately citing the failure of Muslim moderate leadership to speak out against jihad as proof that Islam was invested in a religious war against Christianity. Sigh.

Still and all, it seems to me like the modern Christian leadership has an obligation to speak to their followers in just the same way. I might not be a Christian, but I think I still get to say that.